Introduction: This phenomenological study explores the intersection of social support, rural location and health and wellbeing among self-identified queer female youth. Social support networks can be a protective factor for queer youth by mitigating the effects of discrimination, and influencing health-related behaviors (Saewyc, 2009; Von Ah et al., 2004). Living rurally may present unique challenges for queer youth in fostering strong social connections (Poon & Saewyc, 2009). Objective: The purpose of this retrospective study was to describe the experiences of social support in relation to overall health and wellbeing among queer female youth living in rural communities. Methods: Data were collected from in-depth interviews with self-identified queer female university students in Halifax, Nova Scotia with varied ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The participants’ experiences of social support were analyzed through the process of reduction for significance in relation to health and wellbeing. Findings: Emergent themes including hostile school environments, family conflict, supportive friendships and rural communities were associated with participants’ health and wellbeing. Discussion: The findings from this study identify unique social challenges to guide further investigation and to inform inclusive health promotion policy and program development to foster social support and contribute to the overall health and wellbeing of queer female youth.
|Keywords:||Social Support, Health and Wellbeing, Queer, Youth, Rural, Health Promotion|
Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Lecturer, School of Health and Human Performance, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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